Entries & Recent Form

The stable continues to fire in the winners and with a couple of successes at Cheltenham’s International meeting our tally now stands at 28 for the season which, given the late start to the campaign, I am very satisfied with.  Those Cheltenham victories mean that we have enjoyed weekend success in four of the last five weeks (the only blank was when we had no runners) following the victories of Ramses de Teillee, Main Fact, Vieux Lion Rouge and Adagio (pictured above with some of his delighted owners) and that is vital for any trainer wishing to raise the profile of their stable.

Color Kicks It Off!

Paricolor was our first success of the week when landing the 2m½f selling hurdle at Taunton on Thursday under a good ride from Fergus Gillard.  A little sketchy at his hurdles early on, he didn’t seem ideally suited by the sharper nature of this track but when Fergus kicked for home off the home bend it was a decisive move and soon had his main market rival and old adversary Chef de Troupe in trouble.  He galloped on well in the straight to record a nine length victory and we may try to find a handicap for him next time.

Brave Believer!

Make Me A Believer (pictured right) continued the good form of the stable when landing the opening contest of the Cheltenham International meeting on Friday, the 2m1f novices’ hurdle.  The winner of a Chepstow bumper that has worked out well, he ran a cracking race on his seasonal reappearance to finish runner-up to the very useful Bear Ghylls after an absence of more than a year and duly improved on that again on Friday.  Travelling well throughout under Tom Scudamore, he led turning for home only to be headed at the last by favourite Any News.  Battling on bravely however, he fought his head back in front halfway up the run-in to win going away.

A lovely, big sort, he has always looked the type to make a smashing staying chaser.  That he is able to win a 2m1f hurdle around Cheltenham augurs very well indeed for his future and he is an exciting prospect for owners Professor Caroline Tisdall and Jane Gerard-Pearse who continue to be tremendous supporters of the Pond House team.

Awesome Adagio

Adagio landed the Triumph Hurdle Trial with the minimum of fuss at Cheltenham on Saturday.  Travelling smoothly throughout, his jumping was really good and another fine leap took him to the front at the last, before scooting away to score by 4½ lengths.  Whilst he was beaten on his previous start by a Gordon Elliott horse on a roll, he has looked as good as anything on this side of the Irish Sea and he has proven to be an absolute steal from a French claimer.  His Cheltenham target is undecided, be it the Triumph or the Fred Winter but he is fully deserving of his place wherever he lines up.

Clarkson So Unlucky

There were plenty of other notable performances last week too, with Mr Clarkson most unlucky not to win at Taunton on Thursday.  He had jumped and travelled well and was still in front and finding plenty when sprawling on landing two out.  A tough, genuine and thoroughly likeable horse, he was a prolific winner over hurdles but has yet to get his head in front over the larger obstacles.  It is only a matter of time before he does judged on this basis, I just hope the handicapper does not over-react.

Umbrigado produced a decent first effort over fences when runner-up behind a useful type at Uttoxeter on Tuesday and it is only a matter of time before he goes one better, whilst Rathlin Rose also filled the second spot in the conditional jockeys’ handicap chase at Doncaster on Friday.  He was also a little unlucky as he was laying down a determined challenged when carried across the track by the eventual winner, going down by only ½ length under Jack Tudor.  Rathlin Rose retains all of his enthusiasm despite his advancing years and I would dearly love to find another race for this popular veteran.

The Week Ahead

Looking to this week and despite the abandonment of Ffos Las this afternoon (Monday), we still have plenty of possible runners.  The first of those will come on Wednesday when Iron Heart and Major Robinson run at Newbury.

Iron Heart will contest the juvenile hurdle and he will have improved for the experience of his first hurdling outing at Wincanton where he finished third.  He was among the best of these on the level and is a nice sort.  He is owned by the Decimus Racing syndicate and there are a couple of 1/10th shares remaining in him.  Syndicates are a great way of enjoying the thrill of racehorse ownership without having to find the full outlay – if you would like to get involved, please do get in touch with my office.

Major Robinson, the winner of an Irish bumper was disappointing on his debut for the stable at Cheltenham but is certainly better than that and has pleased me with his jumping at home.

Meanwhile, also on Wednesday, I will have a rare runner on the all-weather when To Fly Free contests the 1m4f apprentices’ handicap at Lingfield for the David Pipe Racing Club.  She has proven to be a great buy, winning over hurdles at Fakenham and finishing in the frame on each of her other five starts.  She ideally likes top of the ground on turf and she won’t be getting that anytime soon, so I thought we would give her a try on the all-weather with Lingfield’s polytrack the quickest of the all-weather surfaces.

We have plenty of entries at Exeter and Hereford on Thursday, including the likes of Maggies Mogul, Red Lion Lad, Brinkley, Eden du Houx and Sexy Lot.  First Lord de Cuet and Brinkley are engaged at Ascot on Friday, whilst on Saturday we have confirmed Main Fact for the Long Walk Hurdle on Saturday and Night Edition in the Betfair Exchange Hurdle – they are both intended runners.

The Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot looks like an absolute cracker on paper and I will hoping for plenty of rain over the coming days as Main Fact really seems to relish the testing conditions.  He needs to improve again to beat the likes of Paisley Park and Thyme Hill, but who knows where the ceiling is for this amazing horse?

Christmas Shopping?

Finally, there are only 11 days left until Christmas and if like me, you struggle for ideas for gifts, look no further!  For the racing enthusiast in your family, why not treat them to a 12 month subscription to the David Pipe Racing Club?  For only £100 they will enjoy many of the benefits of racehorse ownership.  Further details can be found by clicking here.  If you order by Friday of this week, we will make sure that packs are sent out in time for Christmas.

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